High school springs into dance

Dancers will perform en pointe, or on the tips of their toes, for the first time in four years during Laguna Beach High School's spring dance concert this weekend, said Melanie Lewis, dance team booster president.

Dancers will honor the high school's graduating class with their performance of "Thirteen," Friday through Sunday inside the Artists' Theatre.

Five student and four guest choreographers will organize a variety of styles from hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, jazz and whimsical storytelling.

One of the five seniors, Natalee Palmer, is staging "The Black Widows," a dance about girls who seduce and then kill their men.

"I have never done anything like this piece before, which is why I am so excited to see how the audience responds to it," Palmer said in a release. "It goes from fun and flirty to dark and mysterious."

Palmer will begin UCLA's dance program next fall.

MaKenna Zur-Schmiede will choreograph her first piece, "Secrets," which is based on emotions high school students go through, Lewis said.

Ava Eastman, Elias Cerdas and Eliana Alcouloumre join Palmer and Zur-Schmiede as student choreographers under direction of dance department chairwoman Lisa Jay and assistant director Danielle Pignieri.

Students have rehearsed for the last three months, Lewis said.

This is the first time in four years Pignieri, also the school's ballet teacher, has had a large enough group (eight students for this production) who are able to perform en pointe, Lewis said.

"You have to be experienced and talented to do [en pointe]," Lewis said. "Most girls aren't able to do it until they are 12 or 13 because you have to develop bone structure."

The dance club hosts concerts in both winter and spring, she said.

The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation donates money to help stage the event.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Cost is $15 for general seating, $20 for reserved, and $8 for students and seniors.

Tickets are available at the box office at 6 p.m. on show nights, or by credit card for advance purchase and held at the box office by calling (949) 497-7769.

Customers who dine at the Lumberyard restaurant on Thursday can designate 20% of their bill toward the high school's dance program.

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